Lorraine

City of Bellingham Fails in Negotiations with Local Management for Lake Padden Public Golf Course

The City of Bellingham has put out to bid for new management of the Lake Padden Municipal Golf Course. After suffering for years with a contract with the City, which failed to include the City’s participation in a planned capital maintenance program for this asset, the current management has opted not to renew their contract. The City receives a percentage of the fees charged for each round of golf. Fees which should be used for the capital maintenance of this city asset. The current management has made a reasonable offer to the City of Bellingham which would not only keep in place a professionally trained and established local management of our public golf course; it would improve the course to keep it competitive with the private courses in the area. See links below for the two interviews with Padden Golf Course Directors, and the Managements Attorney and Padden Golf Course members, for a fuller understanding of what was offered and why the current management is unwilling to sign-on for another ten-year contract. The Arnie Hanna Aquatic Center loses hundreds of thousands of dollars every year and relies upon the City for maintenance. In contrast, the City of Bellingham has benefited …

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Saturday Morning Live for June 24, 2017

Host Kris Halterman discusses the mission of SAVE, aka Social Alliance for a Vibrant Economy. Who are they? What is their mission? What are have they done? What is Raspberry Pi? What are their future plans?   

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It’s Earth Day! WWYD?

  So here comes another “Earth Day” or for those of us who remember “Arbor Day.” What are you going to do for this roundish ball we live on that floats in the galaxy? Plant a tree? Weed your flower bed? Pick up trash? Or, take a walk through a forested park? On the farms and ranches of the USA we celebrate Earth Day 24/7, 365 days a year, and have been for centuries. From our indigenous people who cross-pollinated to create sturdier and healthier crops, to the farmers and ranchers who sustain us today; it is a full-time effort to treat our environment kindly with a look towards feeding people in the future. Here are just some of the developments that have happened during my life in the agriculture industry. Crop rotation has been a concept on small irrigated farm land since I was a wee girl. Many days were spent rolling, wet hay bales so that they could dry out after a rain. While that hay crop was never a big money-maker, it put nitrogen back in the soil for our beet and corn crops. Each year the landscape changed with each rotation of crop sites, which then …

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Privacy Rights get a Victory – Thanks to Farmers!

It is great to see conflicts being resolved without further court battles. It is great to see citizens privacy being respected. And I love that part of the settlement where the EPA has to take training on the Freedom of Information Act.  Hope you are heartened by this also. ` Lorraine Newman March 28, 2017 Farm Bureau applauds settlement agreement to protect farmers’ privacy The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council have closed the final chapter of their lawsuit challenging EPA’s release of farmer and rancher personal information, when a federal judge approved a settlement that secures the private information of thousands of livestock and poultry farmers in 36 states. “This lawsuit has won a major victory for personal privacy,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “Months ago, we won a court decision that vindicates the rights of farmers and all Americans to protect their personal information from dissemination by the government. This settlement is the final step, requiring that EPA scrub all personal information from the records involved and train its staff on the proper handling of personal information.” AFBF and NPPC filed the lawsuit in 2013 after EPA released a vast compilation …

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Bow Down

Several years ago, when the Whatcom County Council proposed purchasing land back from the State, I wrote about the King’s Forest. The concept being this purchase was merely to enhance the council and would be of no benefit to anyone else. Sad to say that seems to be the case, as no increased ability to use the Whatcom Reconveyance had materialized. In October, I wrote about our Council behaving like the Romans with an insatiable desire for power over life and death. Fast forward to last night’s Council meeting, where a man came to them and begged for them not to continue their moratorium on permits to develop property within the Nooksack watershed. Council-members Weimer, Browne, Mann, Buchanan, Brenner, Donovan, and Sidhu, all sat as witnesses tp a man begging before them, creating a new picture that will forever be etched in their minds and of those who attended. A “man” went down on his knees in front of them and begged them to allow for a well on his property, so that he and his family would not become homeless. Do you find this hard-to-believe? After all we are in a rainfall rich county and only half of our county is develop-able, the other …

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“All Hail Caesar”…The Romans are at the Well…a Vision for the “Royals and Serfs,” in Whatcom County

It has been interesting (in a macabre way) to watch the metamorphosis of the Whatcom County Council and the parallels it has with Roman history. Ancient Rome started as a republic controlled by the wealthy few. Think RE Sources, a very well-funded few who live-in our community, who actively take money from our Council and use it to control your lives and promote people into positions of power to control people and business, here. The only voice for the middle and lesser-classes has been limited to a veto that could be exercised through a Tribune, our cause against the Council. Whatcom County citizens only have the possibility of a veto if a “Tribune” (County Executive) champions their cause. The Roman Republic only worked well for those wealthy few, so there was unrest. In Rome, the unrest would manifest into riots or civil wars. Although less violent, our marathon council sessions where the masses bring their grievances to the council have been signals of the growing unrest of the people. The Roman Senate offered bread and circuses to placate the people; much like our council has provided us with parks and trails, and promised housing for the homeless. But eventually even free stuff …

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Last Night at Council…

Due to the lateness of the Council meeting and my obligations to get work done for paying customers, this will be a quick-post of video taken at last night’s meeting. It was a late night for those of us who showed up to speak at the Public Hearing held at Council Chambers, to comment on their proposed ordinances to implement another 60 day Emergency Moratorium and a six-month moratorium, against fossil fuel exports (and more) at the Cherry Point industries. Lorraine took a lot of notes as I shot short videos of the comments made during last night’s hearing. The audience was made-up of a fairly even split of people who were for and against the proposed moratorium…but most of the video I shot was of the pro-moratorium speakers, because I believe they’re more educational and entertaining. It’s important that the people who live and work here understand what happens every two weeks at these County Council meetings. Because you trust that your representative is there to look out for you, and because they’re there to represent you, you often choose not to attend these meetings while at work, or after your long day at work. No one blames you for the need to be with family and friends. …

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Another Breach of Trust from a Government Agency.

I would like to say I am shocked and surprised, but in the current government agency environment, the old adage of why ask for permission when you can just say you are sorry later seems to have taken a good hold on our federal agencies. For years I have heard farmers and ranchers speculate about answering Census questions and filing reports with government agencies. Because 75% of farming is still small (less than $50,000 in gross sales) and family owned, government reporting contains personal information about the individuals involved. It appears their concerns were justified. Now that the cow is out of the barn, EPA will not be able to undo the damage of private information already released but hopefully due to a recent ruling from the 8th Circuit Court, they will not continue to release private information. ~ Lorraine Newman Below is a report from Ag News Wire concerning CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) reports filed with EPA and the Circuit Court decision: “The Environmental Protection Agency has violated the personal privacy of tens of thousands of farmers and ranchers, according to a unanimous ruling issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The ruling …

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Is the County Council Ignoring the Public Process?

Is the Whatcom County Council following the public policy guidelines from the “Growth Management Act,” and the same policy from the guide on how-to-integrate-public-comments in the,”Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan update for 2017?” Has the Whatcom County Council’s refusal to turn over their proposed changes to the Comp Plan update to the Planning Commission, for review and analysis, to insure that it smoothly melds with the updates being proposed by Bellingham and the other smaller Cities, setup Whatcom County to slide further into economic decline? It’s hard to fathom that being dead last, being 39th of 39 Counties, on the economically unaffordable places to live and work is possible, but maybe it is? It appears on the face of it that they are not. The Growth Management Act is specifically designed to be a bottom-up, public process, where all concerns are addressed before approving and passing the changes placed within it. In an email reply, Councilperson Barbara Brenner questions whether the process has been followed by the other Council members when she states; ” I don’t believe they had any intent on taking the time to absorb all the correspondence and comments we received yesterday.” (see email thread below) There is a 60 day …

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Voices of Sanity Ignored by Local County Council

Aug. 9th, 2016 was the last opportunity citizens had to publicly speak, for or against, the proposed changes to Whatcom County’s future plans for growth. The Council passed their garbage and ignored the many common sense arguments against their proposed changes. Whatcom County is 39th of 39 counties with regards to economic livability due to the high costs to live here, versus the communities average wages. Wages are determined by our ability to produce, attract, and retain the industries capable of paying the wages needed to live here. Producing a vibrant economy is more than beautiful vistas and a smattering of farm pets grazing in the pastures. Whoops!, forgot that farm pets are under attack too. The next time you wonder, Why is housing so expensive? Why aren’t my wages keeping up with the costs of living? Ask yourself if you can house and eat, that pretty pasture your local county politician is working to protect.  A vibrant economy depends on the ability to conduct business in a predictable business climate…something Bellingham and Whatcom County lacks. This is an example of the type of commonsense that was publicly heard and officially posted to the public record on the Council’s proposed changes to …

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